French Open: Djokovic, Federer tested on road to last 16
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer passed tough four-set tests to reach the French Open last-16 on Friday where they were joined by outspoken Latvian Ernests Gulbis
Paris: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer passed tough four-set tests to reach the French Open last-16 on Friday where they were joined by outspoken Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
Second seed Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up, stretched his career streak over Croatia's 25th seed Marin Cilic to 9-0 after a topsy-turvy 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 win.
Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Russia's Dmitry Tursunov at the end of their French tennis Open third round match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on Friday. Pic/AFP
Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up, next faces either French 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Poland's Jerzy Janowicz, the 22nd seed, for a place in the quarter-finals after seeing off Cilic who allowed 22 break points on his serve and committed 64 unforced errors.
A pulsating encounter on Suzanne Lenglen court ended when Cilic, rattled by a shout from the crowd, served up his fifth double fault.
"Marin is a tough player with plenty of strengths," said Djokovic. "He is a great guy with lots of qualities. We've been friends for many years."
Federer, the fourth seeded 2009 champion, needed more than three hours to record his fifth win in five meetings against Russian Dmitry Tursunov who twice needed treatment on a leg injury.
His 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-4 win also gave him a fourth round spot for the 12th time beating the previous record of 11 set by Guillermo Vilas.
Federer, the 17 time major winner, next faces Gulbis who reached the last 16 for the first time since 2008.
"It was tough to lose the second set but nice to win the match," said 32-year-old Federer, who is contesting his 58th straight Grand Slam.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their French tennis Open third round match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on Friday. Pic/AFP
"It was not a straightforward win. I knew Dmitry would try different things, take big cuts at the ball but I am pleased to have played solid."
Gulbis, the 18th seed, won a fractious third round clash against 35-year-old Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in the Court One bullring, firing 19 aces and 45 winners.
Gulbis and Federer last met in Rome in 2010, three years before the 25-year-old Latvian unleashed his Paris tirade.
Gulbis will be appearing in a fourth round for the first time in 22 majors and insists he already has a game plan to tackle the Swiss star.
"You don't need to be scared to do certain things against him, because most of the people they go on the court and they lose already before it has started," said the 18th seed. "I can tell you that's not gonna be the case with me."
German tennis legend Boris Becker looks on as his ward Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays against Croatia's Marin Cilic at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on Friday. Pic/AFP
Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, a semi-finalist in 2010, plays Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut.
John Isner, the 10th seed and one of three American men left in the draw, tackles veteran Spaniard Tommy Robredo who made the last-eight in 2013.
Eighth seed Milos Raonic bids to become the first Canadian in history to make the fourth round in Paris.
He faces Frenchman Gilles Simon who he beat on clay in Portugal last month.